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Cat's Cradle book cover
Cat's Cradle › Quotes

Cat's Cradle Quotes

Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly; Man got to sit and wonder 'why, why, why?' Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land; Man got to tell himself he understand.
In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness. And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely. "Everything must have a purpose?" asked God. "Certainly," said man. "Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God. And He went away.
Science is magic that works.
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before.
Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.
There is love enough in this world for everybody, if people will just look.
People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say.
Perhaps, when we remember wars, we should take off our clothes and paint ourselves blue and go on all fours all day long and grunt like pigs. That would surely be more appropriate than noble oratory and shows of flags and well-oiled guns.
No wonder kids grow up crazy. A cat's cradle is nothing but a bunch of X's between somebody's hands, and little kids look and look and look at all those X's ..." "And?" "No damn cat, and no damn cradle.
The Fourteenth Book is entitled, "What can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?" It doesn't take long to read The Fourteenth Book. It consists of one word and a period. This is it: "Nothing.
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.
Americans... are forever searching for love in forms it never takes, in places it can never be. It must have something to do with the vanished frontier.
She hated people who thought too much. At that moment, she struck me as an appropriate representative for almost all mankind.
Maturity...is knowing what your limitations are...Maturity is a bitter disappointment for which no remedy exists, unless laughter can be said to remedy anything.
Round and round we spin, with feet of lead and wings of tin.
You'll forget it when you're dead, and so will I. When I'm dead, I'm going to forget everything–and I advise you to do the same.
Self-taught, are you?" Julian Castle asked Newt. "Isn't everybody?" Newt inquired. "Very good answer.
As stupid and vicious as men are, this is a lovely day.
Busy, busy, busy, is what we Bokononists whisper whenever we think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.
How complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.
Anyone unable to understand how useful religion can be founded on lies will not understand this book either.
I said I wasn't interested, and she was bright enough to say that she wasn't really interested either. As things turned out, we both overestimated our apathies, but not that much.
If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who.
Sometimes I wonder if he wasn't born dead. I never met a man who was less interested in the living. Sometimes I think that's the trouble with the world: too many people in high places who are stone-cold dead.
The heartbreaking necessity of lying about reality and the heartbreaking impossibilty of lying about it.
I do not say that children at war do not die like men, if they have to die. To their everlasting honor and our everlasting shame, they do die like men, thus making possible the manly jubilation of patriotic holidays. But they are murdered children all the same.
She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he sees what God is Doing, [writes Bokonon].
It might have been.
The most heartbreakingly beautiful girl I ever hope to see.
The words were a paraphrase of the suggestion of Jesus: "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's." Bokonon's paraphrase was this: "Pay no attention to Caesar. Caesar doesn't have the slightest idea what's really going on.
Oh, a sleeping drunkard Up in Central Park, And a lion-hunter In the jungle dark, And a Chinese dentist, And a British queen-- All fit together In the same machine. Nice, nice, very nice; Nice, nice, very nice; Nice, nice, very nice-- So many different people In the same device.
After the thing went off, after it was a sure thing that America could wipe out a city with just one bomb, a scientist turned to Father and said, 'Science has now known sin.' And do you know what Father said? He said, 'What is sin?.
It is never a mistake to say good-bye.
We'd all do well to start over again, preferably with kindergarten.
Think of what a paradise this world would be if men were kind and wise.
History! Read it and weep!.
I am a very bad scientist. I will do anything to make a human being feel better, even if it's unscientific. No scientist worthy of the name could say such a thing.
My god-life! who can understand eve one little minute of it? 'don't try' he said 'just pretend you understand.
Sometimes I think that's the trouble with the world: too many people in high places who are stone-cold dead.
I think, therefore I am, therefore I am photographable.
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before," Bokonon tells us. "He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.
Nothing in this book is true.
Nothing is generous. New knowledge is a valuable commodity. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we are.
It's a small world." ... "When you put it in a cemetery it is.
On the day they dropped the bomb Frank had a tablespoon and a Mason jar. What he was doing was spooning different kinds of bugs into the jar and making them fight....I can remember other bug fights we staged later on...They won't fight unless you keep shaking the jar.
They were lovebirds. They entertained each other endlessly with little gifts: sights worth seeing out the plane window, amusing or instructive bits from things they read, random recollections of times gone by. They were, I think, a flawless example of what Bokonon calls a duprass, which is a karass composed of only two persons.
Having a yacht is a reason for being more cheerful than most.
I don't think he was knowable. I mean, when most people talk about knowing somebody a lot or a little, they're talking about the secrets they've been told or haven't been told. They're talking about intimate things, family things, love things," that nice old lady said to me. "Mr. Hoenikker had all those things in his life, the way every living person has to, but they weren't the main things with him.
In this world, you get what you pay for.
Oh," said Castle. "Him." He shrugged. "People have to talk about something just to keep their voice boxes in working order, so they'll have good voice boxes in case there's ever anything really meaningful to say.
Pay no attention to Caesar. Caesar doesn't have the slightest idea what's really going on.
We don't make bicycles anymore. It's all human relations now. The eggheads sit around trying to figure out new ways for everyone to be happy. Nobody can get fired, no matter what; and if somebody does accidentally make a bicycle, the union accuses us of cruel and inhuman practices and the government confiscates the bicycle for back taxes and gives it to a blind man in Afghanistan.
Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,.
My God-- life! Who can understand even one little minute of it?' 'Don't try,' he said. 'Just pretend you understand.' 'That's-- that's very good advice.' I went limp.
man is vile, and man makes nothing worth making, knows nothing worth knowing.
Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,.
The highest possible form of treason is to say that Americans aren’t loved wherever they go, whatever they do.
It's nice to be nice.
God never wrote a good play in his life.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I stand before you now because I never stopped dawdling like an eight-year-old on a spring morning on his way to school. Anything can make me stop and look and wonder, and sometimes learn. I am a very happy man. Thank you. - Dr. Hoenikker's Nobel Prize acceptance speech (in its entirety); chapter 5.
A pissant does his best to make you feel like a boob all the time.
And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around. Lucky me, lucky mud.
God made mud. God got lonesome. So God said to some of that mud, "Sit up!" "See all I've made", said God, "the hills, the sea, the sky, the stars." And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around. Lucky me, lucky mud.
Why should I bother with made-up games when there are so many real ones going on?.
It posed the question posed by all such stone piles.: how had puny men moved stones so big? And, like all such stone piles, it answered the question itself. Dumb terror had moved those stones so big.
Mister, when I see my first lady angel, if God ever sees fit to show me one, it’ll be her wings not her face that’ll make my mouth fall open. I’ve already seen the prettiest face that ever could be.
The driver asked me if I would mind another brief detour, this time to a tombstone salesroom across the street from the cemetery. I wasn't a Bokononist then, so I agreed with some peevishness. As a Bokononist, of course, I would have agreed gaily to go anywhere anyone suggested. As Bokonon says: 'Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.
But people didn't have to pay as much attention to the awful truth. As the living legend of the cruel tyrant in the city and the gentle holy man in the jungle grew, so, too, did the happiness of the people grow. They were all employed full time as actors in a play they understood, that any human being anywhere could understand and applaud.